Thursday, February 5, 2015


5 February 2015

We are underway just north of St. Croix, USVI. Kind of a barren island compared to St. Thomas and St. John – and one that we have never visited in the 33 years I have been around. I think we ought to look into it – although I’m sure there is a reason – dock availability or tugs. We’ll see.

So yesterday was a routine day, chugging along at 8 knots. Nothing happening except, well, the routine. Even our new Group C fourth class are slipping into the routine except that you can tell they are new because they have un-tanned skin. Let me give examples of routine things – engine and deck

Yesterday morning I hear a pipe (PA announcement) saying “flushing water will be secured (shut off) in the forward and after house”, which kind of makes me interested. I call the bridge, they don’t know who made the pipe, I call the quarterdeck, and they're non-committal about it. Well, some divine power must be in control of the sanitary pump and the PA system! My curiosity actually had
nothing to do with who/what/where about the pipe, more about the why. I climb down to the Chief’s room, no one home. But I do bump into the First Assistant Tim – and he tells me that they just developed a leak in the sanitary line to the new construction (forward and aft house – even though it is 12 years old!).

The pipe was made by the Cadet Chief Engineer Dan. “How long Tim?” I ask. Oh, a few hours I hope. And the repairs actually only take just under two hours –securing salt water, draining the line, cutting out the bad section, fitting a new piece and welding it in, then testing. Routine for those guys, and everyone is happy. Later I see Dan, and tell him he needs two things fixed: one is proper Pipe protocol, the other is sensitivity training. “Dan, you don't just tell them their toilets don't work without some time frame”. Next time, try “Flushing water will be secured for approximately two hours for repairs to the sanitary line”. Obviously – I've too much time on my hands!
Later in the day, about 2015 I get a call from the bridge – yes, this is the deck department story – and the Cadet Officer of the Watch explains a situation with an oil tanker that is displaying “not under command” lights (this means the ship has an exceptional circumstance that prevents them from avoiding collision – Rule 18). OK, I agree to put him to starboard which involves a left turn. They all know on the bridge that I hate left turns – but for a dead in the water NUC ship, I can cope. About ten minutes later I get a call, a little more excited, that the tanker is now displaying normal lights – about now I say “I'll stroll up the bridge”. Sure enough, this clown decides to change his status, start making way, and puts himself in a crossing situation with us, where we are the give way vessel. He could have waited ten minutes for us to pass, or he could have turned right when he started his engines – but no, he blatantly shows improper seamanship and does the opposite. He also won’t answer radio calls. (I won't pick on the flag, but it is eastern European – typical!). So, the Mate has Kennedy swinging right and we have to make a 90 degree turn to avoid the jerk. Done in fifteen minutes, just routine.

I guess we need more excitement out here when little stuff like that can create a five paragraph Captain’s Log! Tomorrow Mayaguez and anchoring.

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